Although we all knew this announcement was imminent, it still brought tears to my eyes and a profound sadness to my heart to learn of this tremendous loss.
I first knew Darrel as a spring training teammate in the Phillies organization, and of course later as the Pads bullpen coach, the position he had held since 2001. His knowledge of baseball and pitching were surpassed by none, and his dedication to the Padres and the players under his charge were exemplified by his presence in spring training and the start of the season when under incredible physical duress he continued to teach and share his passion for the game.
His head on battle with pancreatic cancer was an incredible display of courage that inspired all of us who were privileged to witness it. I will always remember “Ak” as a player who was a fierce competitor but who also had fun playing the game, and as a tremendous coach who was tirelessly committed and supportive of his players.
My deepest sympathy and prayers go out to Darrel’s immediate family, and to all of his extended family and friends in the Padres’ organization and throughout baseball who have lost such a tremendous man.